Sunshine Coast waterfront houses cost less than a city bungalow

Coast prices outside the city have barely budged in eight years   

Four-bedroom waterfront house on Beach Avenue, Roberts Creek on the Sunshine Coast is priced at $1.5 million | Photo: Linda Sabiston

For the average price of a Vancouver bungalow – $1.5 million, according to Royal LePage – buyers could purchase prime waterfront property fairly close to the city. For the price of a larger house on Vancouver’s West Side or West Vancouver, entire Gulf Islands are within reach, according to a survey by Western Investor.

While average detached house prices for areas served by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver have risen 64% since the 2008 financial crisis – and more than doubled in Vancouver - they have barely budged in the rest of the province. Coastal real estate prices outside of the Lower Mainland are now the same or, in many cases, lower than seven years ago, according to the BC Real Estate Association and local realtors.

Western Investor’s survey turned up some waterfront listings that may tempt homeowners to cash out of Vancouver.

Roberts Creek, Sunshine Coast:  Considered one of the prime neighbourhoods in this resort community a 35-minute BC Ferries ride from West Vancouver, Roberts Creeks offers relatively low-priced waterfront easily accessible from the city. An example is a two-storey, four-bedroom waterfront house on Beach Avenue. The Westcoast-style home sits on a 15,960-square-foot oceanfront lot with level access to a sandy beach and southwest views to Vancouver Island. The asking price is $1.59 million, listed by Brynelsen O'Reilly Group of Sechelt.

Powell River. Located on the northern Sunshine Coast and accessible by ferry from both Vancouver and Vancouver Island, the forestry town has both oceanfront and lakefront properties. Western Investor’s pick here is a two-bedroom house of 1,466 square feet on 0.75-acres of landscaped, level oceanfront.. The listed price is $499,900, through Powell River realtor Warren Behan.

Gulf Islands: Prices have come down from the peak of eight years ago, said Janet Moore, a Royal LePage agent in Nanaimo. Moore, a specialist in waterfront property, provided two examples from ferry-accessible Thetis Island: a 2.7-acre, west-facing waterfront parcel with a 1,100-square foot house listed at $675,000; and a 1.6-acre level waterfront property with a high-end, 1,800-square-foot house for $1.25 million.

On Sidney Island, at the southern end of Vancouver Island, 1.8-acre oceanfront lots are available from as low as $179,000, according to realtor Richard Osborne of LandQuest Realty Corp. There is also a newer house on nearly six acres of Sidney Island oceanfront for $605,000.

For less than $5 million, there are entire islands for sale in the Gulf, listed by Jones Lang Lasalle Specialized Assets of Vancouver.  An example is 66-acre South Secretary Island in the southern Gulf Islands. It has been preserved in its natural state by the long-time owners and includes several sandy beaches and a number of areas to construct a dock. It is priced at $4.95 million.